Seems like all we talk about are millennials these days. From what they’re wearing, to what they’re buying and even how they’re buying it, everyone has an opinion about millennials. Within the foodservice industry, it’s the “millennial work ethic” that has everyone talking.
Determined to find out whether there’s a real clash with this new generation, or whether it’s the same generational differences we experience decade after decade, I decided to post the question to my colleagues. Here at Tundra Restaurant Supply, many of us have worked at one point or another in the foodservice industry as managers, chefs, servers and even service technicians. I wanted to get their feedback on the millennial question—is the millennial topic blown out of proportion? I collected their insights and feedback and organized into two posts: Advice to Millennials, and Advice from Millennials.
In my last post managers and senior employees gave their two cents to the millennial generation.
And now, it’s the millennial’s turn.
Part of the criticism towards younger generations is natural. You remember life before the internet, before snapchat, before Google! With the advancement of technology today, you might have your opinions that life was simpler, even better then. But unless you’ve invented your own personal time machine, all I can say is—suck it up!
Change is the only way to survive (particularly in the restaurant biz). You’ve gotten older and wiser (hopefully), but the learning doesn’t stop there. You looked to generations that came before you to help you get on your feet, and now it’s time to start listening to generations that come after you in order to take that next step.
1. The Worth of a New Idea is Age Agnostic
Just because a millennial hasn’t been around the sun as many times as you doesn’t mean a good idea is any less “good.” Millennials are in touch with current technology and trends that could not only help you make more money in your marketing efforts, but also save you some serious change by helping making operational processes more efficient. Don’t fall into the stigma that thinks a millennial lacks ability, experience, or age—you could be missing out on a game-changing idea!
2. Transparency Isn’t All Bad
If you want employees to work together as a team, don’t be afraid to be transparent about the state of the business. Comradery among employees builds a level of trust and makes employees feel like they’re “in it together.” Let employees share in the struggle when times are tough, and let them celebrate when time are good. Don’t be afraid to share information because you think it’d go above the heads of your staff.
3. Servers Are Not Servants. Know the Difference.
It sure is nice having someone bring you food and drinks and exchange pleasantries with in exchange for a fee. But that doesn’t mean it gives you license to treat your server as your own personal servant. Treat your server with the same dignity and respect that you would want to be treated with. Also, patience. Being a server is a rigorous job with long hours on your feet with no consistency in pay (though minimum wage laws is changing that).
4. No Reason to Stay if Not Valued
Whether you agree with it or not, this is true: a millennial will not stay in a job that he or she doesn’t feel valued, or value in. Sure, you can make fun of the fact that more millennials are moving back home with mom and dad, but truth of the matter is you’re out another body and if you haven’t heard, there’s a serious labor shortage hitting the country right now. Even if this job is just a stepping stone to another gig, the experience should be a beneficial one. Keep open communicate with your employees and find out what inspires them. Encouraging someone to grow within their passion gives that individual purpose, and more loyalty to you.
5. Have Fun
At Tundra, our founder Michael Lewis included this has a company value (twice no less)! Fun is one of the first things that go when times are tough. You’ve seen tough times—you’ve been through a recession! And with minimum wage laws going to effect in multiple metropolitan areas, times are bound to start getting stressful. But remember, fun is a valuable use of your time. Fun is what strengthens relationships between your team. Fun is what keeps people happy and performing their best—particularly important when people who interact with customers (like your servers) are the face of your brand and business. Don’t forget to inject a little fun into your environment and show appreciation for your staff.